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Overcoming the gender pay gap

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by Charlotte Gurney

The Gender Pay Gap still exists globally. The average woman in the workplace still earns 17.3% less than the average man. This gap widens even further the older men and women get. So, there is currently a significant need for employers to focus on ways in which the Gender Pay Gap can be overcome. More women gave up work during the pandemic to look after their children, therefore this gap % has increased further.

Start with transparency over pay

You may recently have completed an audit of what your business pays its male and female employees and it’s a good idea to be completely transparent in terms of the results. Be open about how your organization determines pay and benefit structures for staff and the formula you use for calculating salary increases. Carrying out research into market rates to ensure salaries are fair can be crucial, not just in terms of closing the Gender Pay Gap, but with respect to competitiveness too.

Reassess promotions, bonuses and benefits

Many businesses are unconsciously biased towards male employees when it comes to getting promoted, receiving a bonus or enjoying a salary uplift. It’s important to ensure that your business isn’t reinforcing this practice, for example by favouring those who don’t take time off for childcare etc. Stating the criteria for receiving promotions and benefits, concisely and unambiguously will ensure there is no confusion. If you find evidence that your organization has unconsciously been supporting men over women then take steps to correct this.

Increase female salaries

Although this can be a contentious point, the easiest way to correct an imbalance between what your business pays male and female staff is simply to increase what you pay the women you employ. This is often the most straightforward way to reduce the Gender Pay Gap and means that, whatever their gender, those working for your business are doing so for genuinely equal pay.

Encourage men to take parental leave

Although shared parental leave was introduced in the UK in 2015 many new fathers have found that their employers are not that supportive in terms of how much time they take off to care for a new baby. Incentivising the men in your business to take shared parental leave means their partners can continue to work. This will go a long way towards helping to close the Gender Pay Gap.

Offer some help with childcare

From helping women to get back into work after pregnancy and Covid-19, to easing the financial burden, employers who provide childcare support can make a big difference to gender pay issues. Whether that’s offering a contribution towards costs or on-site childcare services, this issue tends to affect female employees significantly more than male so is a way to make a tangible difference.

Flexible working which is still now enforced across many organizations gives women the opportunity to handle caring or childcare responsibilities, as well as maintaining a career and an income. This is a crucial step towards helping to close the Gender Pay Gap for good. There are also plenty of studies that have shown that offering more flexible working can be good for businesses too, with increased engagement and productivity from employees, this is now more an option due to the pandemic than before. 

Any business can take steps to help eliminate the Gender Pay Gap today – these are just a few ideas in terms of how to get started.